THE ever-popular Christmas Guinness adverts could be absent from Irish television screens this winter as the Government pushes through a new law restricting alcohol marketing.
The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is among the prioritised pieces of legislation due to come before the Irish Government to be passed this autumn.
The Bill will set a minimum unit price for alcohol sales in Ireland and prevent shop openers from displaying alcoholic drinks on their shelves.
It will also restrict alcohol advertising in Irish-based media, meaning the much loved Guinness Christmas advert, and others by popular alcohol brands, could be lost from Irish screens for good.
Critics claim the moves could cost Ireland’s media industry an estimated €20million in advertising revenue.
Patricia Callan, Director of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), claims the Bill will have an “enormous impact” on the media industry in Ireland, without any evidence that the restrictions – intended to control alcohol misuse across the country – will “tackle the problem”.
“After an extensive economic analysis of similar advertising restrictions in other jurisdictions, the report found that there was no evidence to link restrictive advertising with reduced consumption of alcohol by both adults and young people,” she said in an ABFI report on the intended legislation.
“The content restrictions proposed in the Bill will ban images of conviviality,” she adds, “such as scenes in an Irish pub, images of a person consuming an alcohol product and images of people, and will mean the end of the iconic Guinness Christmas advert.”
She explained: “The effect of the restrictions will simply shift advertising revenues away from Irish radio, TV and print media towards international, non-Irish regulated media organisations and to digital media, which is much less regulated and which is where young people access most of their media content.”